Currently, communication in the Polkadot ecosystem is not only largely stuck in Web2, but it is siloed and segregated. Governance discussions take place off-chain, projects have to rely on Discord and Telegram to interact with their communities, and suboptimal solutions are implemented for connecting these Web2 accounts to users’ Web3 accounts. Furthermore, by forcing communities to live off-chain, user engagement with dapps is lowered.
At Subsocial, we spent three months researching the needs of the ecosystem, and began implementing the foundation for Polkadot’s Open Communication Layer. We realized that, although Web3 communities, and their communications, should be moved on-chain, there was too much friction with actually using a blockchain for this.
To address this problem, we created Grill.chat as a proof of concept for OpenComm, showing how easy it is for users to start communicating on-chain. The onboarding process is even faster than Web2 apps that we are used to, as you don’t even have to create an account; you just send your first message and an account is automatically generated for you.
Grill.chat takes advantage of our Energy and Off-Chain Signer systems to allow users to communicate on-chain without needing to acquire tokens, install a wallet, or constantly sign transactions. Effectively, it is a user experience on par with what we know in Web2.
These features are not specific to our Grill.chat application; they form the basis for the OpenComm layer. Already, we have other projects working to integrate OpenComm based social features into their applications, and more interested teams lined up:
But what exactly does Open Communication mean? Perhaps the best example to look at is Polkadot’s governance discussions. The two main platforms are Polkassembly and Subsquare, however, you cannot find governance discussions from Subsquare on Polkassembly, because Subsquare is a closed platform. When dealing with the governance process of a blockchain, it just doesn’t make sense to have closed discussions.
With OpenComm, all governance discussions will take place on-chain, and the content and messages will be freely accessible by anyone. This means we could have ten different governance platforms, all connected to the OpenComm social layer, allowing anyone to access the full breadth of Polkadot’s governance discussions, despite their UI/UX preference.
This can be expanded to any project in the ecosystem, and does not apply to just governance discussions. NFT fans could discuss a specific NFT on Singular or Kodadot, accessing a single unified chat from different applications. Sports betters could anonymously discuss Zeitgeist prediction markets on-chain, directly from the PM webpage.
Perhaps you open a particular trading pair on a DEX, and see someone say that specific token is a good buy. Because the chat is on-chain, you can quickly check the account of the poster to view their trading history and see if they know what they are talking about.
I’ll avoid going into too much more detail here, as we have a proposal that will be going live soon, with all of the details on OpenComm, including a problem statement, why Polkadot needs OpenComm, and more. We will be posting a slightly modified version on-chain for discussion in the coming days.
If you have any feedback please let us know, and if you are interested in adding social features to your dapp, please get in contact with us.